The culmination of a divorce often brings relief, but it also introduces a new set of challenges: tax planning post-divorce. Ensuring a smooth transition, particularly in the financial domain, requires understanding and planning around the tax implications that arise after finalizing a divorce.
Understanding Tax Implications: Why It’s Crucial
Post-divorce, your financial status undergoes a transformation. From filing statuses to asset divisions, every change could impact your tax returns. Engaging in effective tax planning post-divorce ensures that you’re not caught off guard when tax season rolls around.
Key Considerations in Tax Planning Post-Divorce
Filing Status Changes: Your marital status as of December 31 determines how you’ll file your taxes. Post-divorce, most individuals switch from ‘Married Filing Jointly’ to ‘Single’ or ‘Head of Household.’ The latter could provide more favorable tax rates and a higher standard deduction, especially if you’re the parent designated as the Custodian.
- Child-Related Claims: Decisions need to be made about who will claim the child(ren) as dependents in any given tax year. In many cases, the parent designated as the Custodian makes the claim, but tax planning post-divorce can involve drafting agreements that the other parent to claim this benefit in certain years.
- Division of Assets & Liabilities: The division of assets during a divorce is often tax-free. However, the subsequent sale of assets, like property, might have capital gains tax implications. Additionally, if one party assumes responsibility for joint debts, it doesn’t absolve the other party in the eyes of creditors. Being aware of these facets is essential for effective tax planning post-divorce.
- Support Payments: Maintenance (spousal support) payments underwent significant tax changes with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For divorces finalized post-2018, alimony is no longer deductible for the payer. Thus, the IRS does not consider maintenance as income for the recipient.
- Updating Information: Ensure that the IRS has up-to-date names, addresses, and other pertinent information. This ensures that you receive timely information and avoid potential complications.
The Way Forward in Tax Planning Post-Divorce
While the journey of divorce can be tumultuous, equipping yourself with the right information, especially in the realm of tax planning post-divorce, can set you on a path of financial stability. When in doubt, always consult with a tax professional or financial planner well-versed in divorce-related tax nuances.
For legal guidance through the Illinois divorce process, contact the family law firm at Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions, LLC.